Our Rabbi & the Kotel - Part 1

Our Rabbi said on Taanit Esther: "I wanted to go to the Kotel, but since I have the practice of putting on Tefillin at Minchah on a fast day, I am concerned about appearing arrogant." When a student told him: "Many people put on tefillin there and therefore you would not be viewed as arrogant," our Rabbi agreed to go. It was extremely hot and the student wanted to go back. Our Rabbi said to him with depth and gravity: "It is difficult for me to detach myself from here." When the student heard this, he was not tired or thirsty anymore for he felt the electricity of holiness.

Our Rabbi had reservations about placing notes in the Kotel, and he pointed out that there is a halachic problem of partially entering into the area of the Temple Mount by doing so.

When a Torah scholar mentioned to our Rabbi the custom of placing notes in the Western Wall, our Rabbi said that one should not do this, and one should even refrain from putting one’s fingers into the Kotel [since it is forbidden for an impure person to enter the air of the Temple Mount in even the slightest way]. The Torah scholar said to him: "But this is the custom of Israel [Minhag Yisrael]?" Our Rabbi responded: The word "minhag" [custom] contains the same letters as "gehinom" [purgatory].

He similarly said that Maran Ha-Rav Kook refrained from kissing a stone of the Kotel, which was not protruding. And thus he wrote (Le-Shelosha Be-Elul 1 pg. 59 #71): "And he [Maran Ha-Rav] was cautious about placing fingers of his hand between the stones of the Kotel."

When a groom asked our Rabbi what to pray for at the Kotel before his wedding, he responded to him that the Kotel is not a place to make personal requests but a place of meeting with the Master of the Universe.

Our Rabbi said that at the Kotel one should think about two things: A. We at located before the Divine Presence. B. The unity of Israel before the Divine Presence.

On the second Yom Yerushalayim after the Six-Day War, our Rabbi stood before the Kotel with his hand outstretched and prayed. Like one person, all of the students were startled on account of his trembling in holiness, and they felt as if our Rabbi was not standing with them in this world.